LostWinds: Winter of the Melodias: review

  • Format: Wii (WiiWare)
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Frontier
  • Developer: Frontier Developments Ltd.
  • Players: 1
  • The first LostWinds game was charming, original, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. It met with well deserved widespread critical acclaim. Can Frontier follow that up without getting lazy and complacent?

    The LostWinds games are 2D platformers with 3D graphics, but to leave it at that would be a gross oversimplification. You theoretically control two characters at once: the boy Toku (who can do little more than run, and eat fruit to replenish his health) with the nunchuk; and the wind spirit Enril, who appears on screen as a cursor, with the remote. Enril does most of the work, using the power of wind to kill enemies and throw Toku up to high platforms – amongst many other things.

    Winter Of The Melodias picks up where the first game left off, and makes much more of an effort at a story than the first instalment. After a brief interactive intro controlling a new character (who you don’t control again), it becomes clear that Bad Things Are Happening once again. Toku’s mother has gone missing in the icy mountains and once you find her, you have a new problem. Luckily, Enril has some new tricks up her proverbial sleeve to help you out.

    Enril, help me you ffuuuuu....

    You retain the same wind powers from the first game, though Toku’s cape mysteriously disappears till near the end of the story. A new chapter brings new powers with it: a mini cyclone to lift Toku up or drill through certain floors, the ability to drain water into a cloud which you can then gust along and draw rain out of, and abilities to create snowballs and freeze small enemies – which only work in winter.

    The biggest difference in WOTM is that you can now, after completing a few brief fetch quests at a certain point, switch between summer and winter by activating holy statues. This feature is employed for some simple but clever puzzles which, combined with the cloud creation ability, usually revolve around exploiting the fact that water can exist as a liquid, a solid, or a gas.

    The same levels look suitably different depending on the season, with some minor differences to the enemies too. The clever and satisfying puzzles, atmospheric and relaxing music, and distinctive character design (supported by graphics that outshine even many retail Wii titles) give WOTM a Zelda feel, while still making it very much its own game.

    As with the first game there’s some retracing of your steps, but you’ll rarely find yourself without something new to do – and you’re now given a basic map with destination indicators, which eliminates any aimless wandering trying to figure out where to go next. You can also see how many of the hidden collectables (which now unlock character info) you still haven’t found in each area.

    You don’t need to have played the original to enjoy this, but those who have will get the most out of it – and we really can’t imagine why you would have an online Wii without LostWinds. Unfortunately, the one inescapable problem that the last game had has been passed on to WOTM – it’s all over far too quickly.

    In just under four and a half hours we’d seen the story through to the end, and harvested over three quarters of the collectables. 1000 Wii points (about £7.50) is a small price to pay for such a lovingly crafted game however. We hope Shigeru Miyamoto plays the LostWinds titles, and remembers that he used to make games this clever and wondrous all the time.

    4/5

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    Written by Luke K

    He plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He’s the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value.

    He doesn’t have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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